Amazon has just dropped a bomb of sorts on the IoT community with the arrival of its newest device called Echo. The best way to describe Echo is that it’s like Siri or Cortana but the whole device is designed around your interaction with it. “It” in this case is whatever “wake” word you decide to call the device when you want to interact with it. Amazon have chosen to use the name Alexa in their promotional video but it’s up to you what you name it. Another words, Echo is the device and “Alexa” is the voice that you interact with.
Getting back to the actual use for Echo we need to look at how its designed. Echo is about the size of a 20 oz thermos with a ring of LED’s around the top. Inside of the device are two downward firing speakers for relaying whatever Alexa says and playing music.
You could place Echo in your kitchen and use it to assist in cooking and ask Alexa how many ounces are in a cup and she would use the internet to get the answer and tell you. Echo is also connected to Amazon’s cloud via WiFi for your shopping convenience. If you asked Alexa to add eggs to your shopping list it would add them to a list on your Kindle. Its a very neat idea that Amazon has but it surely won’t be for everybody, but then again I’m not sure they want it to be. As of right now if you want an Echo you have to request an invite to buy one on Amazon’s website. The price is $199 or $99 for Amazon Prime members.
There are two new wearables due out very, very soon as well. The ASUS Zen Watch will be available today for $199 through Best Buy and Google Play. The Zen Watch is on par aesthetically with the Moto 360 and iWatch and undercuts their respective prices. Some more info on the Zen Watch is available right here.
Fitbit is releasing an exciting new fitness wearable called the Surge. When it comes to features, this Fitbit is on steroids. With features like a LCD display, GPS Tracking, Pure Pulse heart rate monitoring, pedometer and Altimeter, it’s the best Fitbit yet. Look for the Surge to go on sale for $249 early 2015.